Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Learn All About St.Patrick's Day Plants - Shamrocks & More

I've long been a believer in luck.  I enter (and win!) sweepstakes all the time.  The only time I've been in the hospital was when I was born.  I've come out of 3 car accidents with semi trucks (I wasn't always the driver) with no more than a few scratches.  I feel like the luckiest girl for the circumstances that lead to my job as a garden writer.

When I was living in Oregon for my internship, we would sometimes go visit Portland.  One Saturday another intern and I drove to the city and walked around. Since I'm a garden nerdlet, I started looking at the clover in the grass, searching for 4-leaf clovers. Oddly enough, I found quite a few that day.

I also had the fun task of helping a friend plant red clover in his lawn last year.  It's actually quite beneficial for the yard.  Clover (as well as other legumes like beans and peas) performs the process of nitrogen fixation with the help of microorganisms found in root nodes.  Nitrogen fixation means the plant can pull nitrogen out of the air for use (most plants cannot).  Inoculant is a concentration of those microorganisms so you can help boost nitrogen fixation.  We coated the seeds with inoculant and spread it among the grass.  I can't wait to go see if they took and look for 4-leaf clovers.

Shamrocks are a symbol of Ireland and St. Patrick's day, but it's not clear which versions of clover can be considered the "real" shamrocks.  My coworker David from Landscaping has a great piece called Irish Shamrocks and Four-Leaf Clovers.

You can also read about the native trees and shrubs of Ireland  in the list of websites I have compiled.  I think the Killarney strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo) is one of my favorites since we grow that in California too.

Have you found 4-leaf clovers?  What's your favorite native Irish tree or shrub?

Photo by cygnus921 via Flickr


margarita_mama said...

Weather permitting, I walk my youngest son to/from his school each day.
I noticed the other day, the huge clover patches on the school lawn.
When picking him up in the afternoon, I use the 5-10 spare minutes while waiting to dig through the patches.
Have found many four leafs over the course of the past few years.
The other parents always look at me kinda funny, but I've also had several who have joined me in the quest for a four-leafer.

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